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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Two million travelers come in contact with the Transportation Security Administration every day. It is an intense experience all around -- extremely personal in some senses but also impersonal at the same time.

There is no time to talk, to listen, to engage with each other. There isn’t much opportunity for our Security Officers to explain the ‘why,’ of what we ask you to do at the checkpoint, just the ‘what’ needs to be done to clear security. The result is that the feedback and venting ends up circulating among passengers with no real opportunity for us to learn from you or vice versa. We get feedback verbally and non-verbally at the checkpoint and see a lot in the blogs, again without a real dialogue.

Our ambition is to provide here a forum for a lively, open discussion of TSA issues. While I and senior leadership of TSA will participate in the discussion, we are turning the keyboard over to several hosts who represent what’s best about TSA (its people). Our hosts aren’t responsible for TSA’s policies, nor will they have to defend them -- their job is to engage with you straight-up and take it from there. Our hosts will have access to senior leadership but will have very few editorial constraints. Our postings from the public will be reviewed to remove the destructive but not touch the critical or cranky.

Please be patient and good-humored as we get underway. The opportunity is that we will incorporate what we learn in this forum in our checkpoint process evolution. We will not only give you straight answers to your questions but we will challenge you with new ideas and involve you in upcoming changes.

One of my major goals of 2008 is to get TSA and passengers back on the same side, working together. We need your help to get the checkpoint to be a better environment for us to do our security job and for you to get through quickly and onto your flight. Seems like the way to get that going is for us to open up and hear your feedback...

Thanks for joining us,

Kip Hawley



Submitted by Anonymous on

How are we able to respond directly to a specific comment? Please fix the site so that can be done instead of having new comments added onto the end.

Great idea...just needs to be tweaked.

Submitted by SeaTac TSO on

As a security officer in SeaTac International, I see lots of people coming through, to be sure. Having just started this job late last year, sometimes it can get a little overwhelming seeing so many people throughout the day, and having to explain the same thing over and over for whatever reason. (Really, the reason we loudly proclaim the rules that are posted on the signs is because people don't read the signs and usually it means someone just came through saying "well I didn't -know- my laptop had to be taken out of the bag.") We do have a set of rules we follow, or we try to. To be honest, there are some of us officers who follow the rules more specifically than others. Some are more lenient, especially on the liquids policy. One may let a 4oz container through, and another will quote the SOP (it doesn't matter if the 4oz container is half full, it matters what the number on the bottle says) and not stray an inch from it. Usually it is up to the descretion of the officer on the liquids - also on shoes, jackets, and whatever else is being questioned.

Having gone through the new employee training somewhat recently, the trainers would always explain to us why these rules were in effect. Someone will probably call BS on this, but we aren't allowed to tell you -exactly- why some of the rules are in place. What we can tell you is that we aren't doing this to invade privacy, or restrict your freedoms, or just to be A-holes.

The group of people that I trained with was a wonderful group of individuals. We all knew why we were there, and talked about it often. We want to do something with our lives, to feel like we are making a difference. We want to prevent another 9-11. Some people say, 9-11 will never happen again because the terrorist would just get beat up by the other passengers. If they had a gun or a knife, that's probably true. But if he said "I have a bomb that will go off when I hit this button" I think people might have second thoughts. I'd go into the technicals of why 3.4oz of liquid explosives isn't enough to really tear open a plane, but I'd rather be safe than sorry on what I can and can't say.

One of my wishes to improve the efficiency of security processing would be to get the information more out there in the public. As of right now, the only way people can know about the 3.4oz rule is if they ask a TSO/someone who has flown recently or look it up (an activity we encourage), which can be misleading because many pages say that the limit is 3oz per container. If there were a spot on the nightly news, 60 or even 30 seconds of up-to-date rules, such as 'this week the TSA would like to see perscription notes for large liquid medications' (this is not a rule, just an example). PS: there is no size limit to perscription medications as long as it has the Rx label. Maybe that's something that could be talked about, too. Even a cheap commercial of that annoyingly catchy-tuned video loop that's played outside the checkpoints.

I've worn out my welcome, I think. I know I didn't answer too many questions, and I apologize if it seems like I should or could have and am just avoiding the questions, but I'm not a moderator of this page and I'll leave the answering to them.
Seconding/thirding that this may be better for Q&A type things as a forum page, not as one post with hundreds of comments.
[I'm aware this post might not get through because of the information in it, if that's what happens I'll try to be less revealing next time; I would still like to get some information and points across, like the news spot to make things easier for the general public.]

Submitted by Joe on

Kudos to you for starting a blog. You guys already take a lot of grief from frustrated travelers, so I won't pile on here...but, I do have one question...

It seems like you're as interested in keeping the lines moving as we are. After all, I almost always hear a TSA rep yelling instructions to help make the process as efficient as possible. As a frequent business traveler, I try to get everything in order before I get to the checkpoint (e.g., laptop is ready to pull out of bag, shoes are untied and ready for removal, etc.) So why not offer some consistency from airport to airport? On my most recent trip I was asked to do something I've never been asked to do before (remove a fleece pullover) and it slowed the line down. I've worn one of those (or a sweatshirt) on countless other flights and have *never* been asked to take it off for security. Hey, I'm fine *always* taking it off, but let's not have a guessing game, OK? Smae thing for shoes. Believe it or not, I was chastised last year by a TSA agent for taking off my shoes and putting them on the belt -- he said *not* to do that.

So go ahead and have us do whatever is necessary, but please do so consistently across the country so that we can all help move the lines along, OK?

Submitted by Sam on

how's about that... they even screen the posts to make sure no "subversive" material will get through to harm good decent hard working americans... isn't that a freedom loving government for you?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Are flight crews exempt from the liquids rule? Flying out of SFO recently, a flight attendant ahead of me walked included a large bottle of drinking water in the plastic bin that she sent through the scanner. I inquired of the TSA agent why they allowed this and her response was "she is flight crew". If that were allowed, couldn't someone posing in a flight crew uniform send through anything they wanted to?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have not flown since my return from Europe right after 9/11. Submitting to a personal search of my body, becoming an instant "suspect" and giving up every one of my human rights is not of my choosing. So I drive instead of fly. For those that do choose to fly, keep in mind that their mental attitude is already taxed because of infringements on their human rights. Kindness and respect seem lacking from the TSA's. Everyone wants to be safe but is it necessary to degrade people in the process?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I came through SLC earlier in the week and the 3-1-1 signs were still in place showing liquids at a 3oz limit while the video was showing liquids at the 3.4oz limit. I mentioned it to the TSA person checking ID's and she was pretty short with me and then went on to make up an excuse as to why the signs, video, and requirements were different. I also didn't get the feeling that any initiative was going to be taken to pass along the deviation and get it corrected. My advice - get the information to match the actual requirements so that the traveling public isn't confused by the information.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I read some of the comments written by passengers; some happy other’s who are unable to understand that these people are doing the best they can with what they have, "us!" The general public is unaware of the horrors that could be unleashed upon us, and then after something happens, these same people will complain that not enough was done! Some people can not be placated no matter what you do! I travel, am handicapped, have been treated with the utmost respect, and have gone through many of the screenings, also regarding the ones in Milwaukee, to Minneapolis, etc... some smaller airports in between, all TSA/TSO have been friendly, patient and caring, I have not had a situation where my questions or answers; if needed were not given! I don't understand why the complaints unless it is because some people figure they may be above being checked? I am happy to open and to have everything checked, I hope all the airports and travel on the rails is being checked as well, when I think of what has happened in Spain; maybe all transport in this Nation should be checked by TSA members; I for one have never had a poor or bad response, but of course, I am conscientious and polite to all; and that probably does make a difference, after all these people are "people too" and I am sure they put up with all sorts of comments and negative remarks, yet when you come up to be served they smile and ask if you need special service! Give these screeners a break, they are good at what they do, and are tested as was shown on the news a few days ago, unaware of what or who is coming through, and many items are probably small and barely found! If they fail; the tester shows these workers what was not done correctly or was not found! Hats off to these great people; working with a public that most of the time feel they should not be screened at all, and then you have those that are intoxicated and you try to deal with them too! The TSA/TSO personnel don’t seem to be able to catch a break from these complaining people. In my opinion, these workers are at risk everyday, and we American’s need to give them respect for what they do! Thank you to all of these workers!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Would the TSA please crack down on AirTran for not following security directives, they do not follow the current criteria for SSSS. They are wasting TSA resources and should pay for that waste but nothing ever happens. Since AirTran will never listen to their customers about a security issue, they might listen to the TSA, probably just wishful thinking though. Thank you.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I do a long haul flight every month commuting to work. I can not complain about TSA - maybe it's just that way in friendly places (I fly from IAH) - but one should try Paris or parts of Africa before critizing TSA. Thanks guys.


Submitted by Anonymous on

hey, i learnd something already, there's a complaint form. great, i'll fill one out each time i travel. after the first time that i had to take my shoes off, i vowed never to fly again while the idiots are in charge of security. and, since i'm only a pleasure traveler, i've managed to drive whereever in the u.s. most of these security measures which annoy passengers are only a useless show; take off my shoes, belt; next time i plan to take off my pants and undies; and you can all go scratch. and those screeners; oh my god, a collection of minimum wage idiots like you never saw. they couldn't get jobs at walmart, i guess that's why they're working for y'all.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What I hate the most is not being able to lock my bags. If I bring expensive equipment or buy alcohol it will get stolen, but I can't carry it all on board with me. It does happen I've seen it. I also hate forcing people to xray everything and not doing hand checks by request. Those xrays ruin film and digital cameras. It does happen I've seen it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

As a DOD Contractor for the US Military a couple years ago I passed thru DFW and because of an airline code assigned to my ticket because I was coming from Kuwait, I got searched at every opportunity. Something like 3 times in one day at DFW. I was alos traveling on an Official Passport, So, that should have said my status was a bit above the rest. It appeared to me that they wanted to do the job an hassle someone they knew would pass the test, vice looking for more suspicious characters.

Submitted by Beaconmike on

About a year ago, I traveled and the security folks stole my flashlight from my of those nice $28.00 long Mag-Lite flashlights. I filled out the appropriate paperwork and sent it in as requested by TSA and they rejected my request.

They made me out to be a complainer and kind of said 'Tuff-Luck' to me.

I just find it interesting that here in KC there is a common criminal who may still be working at TSA who is nothing more than a petty thief........and he is charged with protecting our security.

More important, the TSA whom was charged with reimbursing me for my loss, rejected my claim which was filled out completely, honestly and such............they just didn't want to pay it.

I consider the TSA agency a petty thief as well.

And this is the agency that is supposed to protect far as I am concerned, they are thieves and nothing but bureacrats.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like to know why after going through baggage check in and then through baggage screening the airport set up another checkpoint to randomly hand check baggage before entering the plane itself? It seemed like overkill and interestingly they picked people like a Mom and her child's baby bag, a Grandmother and her purse to go through but didn'tcheck a nervous looking around 30's gentleman with a huge carryon bag. What is the criteria for checking again? Thanks

Submitted by Judge Rufus Peckham on

I am appalled by this comment: "So why then does TSA spend so much of its time fruitlessly searching the average parent traveling with little kids; the elderly; females; Asians; etc., etc."

It is absurd to think that the terrorists cannot or will not adjust their tactics to use women, children and people of other nationalities as bombers -- as they have proven time and again in the Mid-east. Race and gender profiling don't work.

Submitted by Anonymous on

This is a moderated blob ... which logs all of our IP addresses, no doubt. I am willing to bet that EVERYONE who comments in any way on this blog will get put on one of the infamous lists.

Including me.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why do airline crews have to go through security? It seems a bit silly that the people that we are entrusting our lives to on the airplane have to be screened for silly things like bottled shampoo or mouthwash when they are actually flying the plane. Couldn't/shouldn't they be given "security" type badges that allows them to bypass the security line?

Submitted by Anonymous on

HEY TSA clowns!! We are "Passengers!" NOT "Prisoners!"

Time and time again I hear some uneducated TSA nit wit barking out orders like we're headed to the delousing chamber.

Get with it! You've ruined the air travel experience with your rude and annoying people.

GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!!! Frankly, you all suck!

Submitted by Dave on

OK, I doubt anyone with any power will read this, but I've always been one to tilt at windmills, so here goes:

TSA is a federal agency, yes? The workers are paid by the federal government, and not the airlines?

Then why do we have "First Class" lines at TSA checkpoints, at airports such as DEN? Why are my tax dollars going to promote special treatment for those passengers that have an upgraded ticket? Is there some sort of kickback from the airlines for this?

I can see the airlines wanting to keep their first-class passengers happy--which is why they have preboarding, more luggage allowance, etc etc. But the TSA should have NO part in this.

Can someone explain this arrangement?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Just a bunch of people venting and TSA employees cheerleading!

People ask questions and get no answers. And if the question is addressed, you could never find the answer if you tried.

But most of all, no answer here could ever be printed out and used by a traveler at a checkpoint anyways. So it's completely useless.

What. Is. The. Point?

Submitted by Mike on

On a recent return trip from Belize, with a layover in Houston, TSA officials Stole a $500.00 digital camera from one of my checked bags. Keep up the good work.

Submitted by Bob Reyes on

I do HOPE that this blog site will really be informative, yet SUBJECTIVE.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Some people on this blog believe that there is only one ethnic group that can be terrorist. You need to think outside the box. There have been several Americans who have gone overseas to train with the Alquada(sp). I think the TSA is doing a good job, and the majority of the people who fly should know or do know what can be taken on a plane and what can't. Regardless, I think our safety is more important than our inconvenience. I do agree that the TSA needs to be consistent at every airport with their rules.

Submitted by Mike on

No sane person disapproves of security. But what corporation or business can get away with the incredible rudeness shown by airport security? Or airline employess for that matter. I am a frequent business traveler, and the rudeness I have seen boggles the mind. Towards very small children, people 80 or older. Do you have to be so darn rude? There is no time to give would take 50 pages.

Submitted by Anonymous on

OK. Shoes: It is well known that explosives devices (IED's) placed into shoes are a favorite choice of terrorists. The metal detectors we walk through in airports DO NOT detect explosives, only metal. So placing the shoes into the X-ray system is the only way to determine if an IED has been place into a shoe. Simple.

Submitted by Pfsc on

Taking off our shoes and jackets has long since past its usefulness - if it ever was useful at all. Because one person smuggles explosives onto a plane, every passenger since then has been inconvenienced to no end, and lines are more excruciating then ever. Why is the TSA always acting in reaction to something, rather than setting realistic policy? And how about updating policy when former threats are no longer a danger?

Submitted by Anonymous on

You should have a security line for people who fly often and know the rules, and a separate line for people who do not fly often and don’t know about security updates. That way those of us who know what were doing don’t have to stand in line for hours because the people in front of us didn’t know they couldn’t bring water through security or that they have to take off their shoes.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I travel every week. One of my issues is the preferential treatment given to any airport/travel personnel going through security when they are not working. I have no problem with them cutting in when they are working. Who wants to stand in a long security line just to go to work or come back from lunch or whatever. However, when they are not working, they should be treated the same as regular passengers. The preferential treatment under those conditions shows the attitude of all travel industry employees to their "customers". Also, it is obvious that airline employees see their customers as a bunch of cattle. A large group will come up and all cut in a single security line instead of spreading out across the various lines. When I protested one time, one flight attendant informed me I should be grateful she did her job. You know what, I want to get where I'm going but even in today's travel environment, there are plenty of people who would be happy to replace her.

Submitted by Sam on

when an agency of the US goverment fails to post my comments... I want you to remeber the ground rules you set... as my lawyer surely will find hundreds of instnces in which you ignored your own policies...

"This is a moderated blog. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain vulgar or abusive language; personal attacks of any kind; or offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly “off topic” or that promote services or products. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted."

Submitted by CyberSchnook on

Travelling from BDL to WLG in September, 2005, and having spent a small fortune on TSA luggage locks, I'm wondering why three out of eight locks didn't make the same trip I did. In one case, BOTH zipper pulls were gone, making use of that suitcase a real chore.

I'd think neon yellow was pretty obvious, and the special logo is on both sides of the locks.

Submitted by California Traveler on

I travel frequently and have just one concern: standards are inconsistent from airport to airport. The worst ones I've been to are Denver and Miami. I read your website and make sure I'm following the rules, but TSA screeners don't. I was upset when a bottle of saline solution for my contact lenses was taken away because it was larger than 3 ounces.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I had thought flying inconvenient at best long before 9/11. Now with the advent of the TSA and it's Gestapo tactics, rude and intimidating pseudo-police, and ridiculous liquid policies -- I can't even drink a bottle of water that I didn't spend $4 for at an "approved" concourse vendor -- I avoid flying completely. I have to take my shoes off and hold them along with my coat, carry-on (which holds my medications and a spare set of underwear so when the airline loses my baggage I have at least that much), and struggle through the never-ending lines. I am former law enforcement and have flown armed, and I take umbrage at the TSA's badge-heavy tactics, wannabe attitudes and secrecy. I avoid flying at all costs now, since the only ones who are really benefiting from these tactics are the airlines who have their hands in our pockets even deeper now. And yes, I can see lots of people will be afraid to write on this blog. Gestapo-like tactics tend to make people paranoid, reticent and self-protective. Passengers are afraid to make a complaint or they will not be "allowed" to fly with the ticket they bought and paid for, often weeks in advance, with their money -- money the airlines want, and now have, free and clear of any guarantees of any kind of service. All in the name of security. I didn't see the 9/11 hijackers' shoes making much difference. I doubt they carried 6 ounce bottles of shampoo either.

Submitted by Anonymous on

As was demonstrated earlier this week by the TSA's own investigation team and televised on national TV, it remains relatively easy for terrorists to get weapons, bombs, etc., past the security checkpoints. Reports indicate up to 80% of inspections at some airports fail to find items planted to test security checks. There also is still little if any effective screening of cargo.

This is all six and a half years after 9/11.

Given this lack of effective security measures by the TSA, why should we tolerate the inconvenience and delays? It may make it look like TSa is doing something to protect us, but it is pretty obvious that looking beneath the surface reveals little if any improvement over pre-9/11 security.

Perhaps if there was a real return of truly increased security for the inconvenience and frustration it would be worth it. As things stand now, there are no benefits that can come close to justifying the problems experiences.

My response, BTW, is to no longer fly if there is any reasonable way to avoid it. If that was TSA's true goal, you have accomplished it admirably.

Submitted by Mike on

As an engineer I frequently travel with all sorts of items for expositions or conferences. One time in particular I flew from to a conference and back with a metal working tool in my bag. Later that month I flew to Dallas on the way to Vegas, and through LAX on the way to Philadelphia. After multiple bag screenings, only in LAX was I questioned about this metalworking tool. It was fairly innoculous, but strange at the same time, bulky and blunt, no sharp edges, but I was amazed at the inconsistencies in the various airports.

Also we hear about all of the "controlled" breaches of security, but we never hear about the patches to security. I hope mor is being done than is publicized.

Submitted by Anonymous on

On a recent return trip fron Oakland,CA I was patted down as usual (I am a 70 white female with a knee replacement) but this time I also received a neck-shoulder massage. Why was this necessary?

Submitted by Anonymous on

The security at the airport is over the wall as I see it. Making me take off my shoes, then searching me is just too much at the wrong spot. Ship the illegal folks home, create a real id system and then get tough with the bad guys. The domestic flights are being hampered with an overzealous approach that is simply unjustified and another example of the government spending tax dollars on wasted efforts.

This AMERICAN vet votes (and blogs) for freedom and our constitution!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I want to know why the TWIC program is costing each worker 132.50 to obtain another security card? If 750,000 workers need another ID card where is the Federal government spending the over 100 million dollars it collects from the workers? This is a heavy burden for another un-necessary ID badge. Just another way to tax working taxpayer money from our pockets. Why don't your pay more attention to the vessel crew members who wander off to the shopping malls while in port. Most of the crews are from the Philipines which is predomanently Muslim. Get them to pay for the ID cards NOT US!

Submitted by Anonymous on

First, I value my safety... but what TSA does "in Seattle" is steal us blind. I travel yearly thru Seattle and have had items taken every time I travel.... I have place claims and as I live out of the USA (but still American) I am told to "take us to court". When my claim is only for a few hundred dollars and I would again have to travel "thru Seattle and TSA", I have "settled out of court at less then 50% of the value. No one is watching those watching for "terrorists" they are stealing us blind.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What is a "Code 83"?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can we please have some consistency from airport to airport? Sometimes my titanium glasses set off the detector, other times they do not. We've been flying for months with milk and ice for our toddler, but in one airport we were told the ice wasn't allowed. And what does all this "security" provide? If I want to hijack a plane, I'm not coming through the front door, I'm going to hop the perimeter fence in the dark dressed like ground crew -- the same way I can get into the country illegally.

I think the terrorists have won this round. Too many folks are scared, we're wasting tons of time and money on security measures that don't provide any, and we're focused on airplanes when they're focused on something far more creative and simple than what we've already reacted to. What a shame...

Submitted by Anonymous on

I spent an hour going to pharmacy getting a copy of my prescription as well as going to doctor's office getting a letter why I must carry on 9 bottles of liquid medicine so I would have all the necessary documentation. Not one screener at JFK ever stopped me or asked what was in the bottles. This frightens me greatly.

Submitted by Thomas on

I am a retired Navy Captain. During my 30 year career I held one of the highest clearances aavailable: TS-SCI-TK (cryptology). Why isn't this type of clearance data used to speed up security checks.

Submitted by Kellelaine on

I actually don't have a lot of problems with TSA screenings.

The biggest one that bothers me is taking off my shoes all the time. In the winter, I have to wear shoes that don't come off easily, and it's not only bothersome, I think it is very unsanitary to be walking through that area in my socks or bare feet. There has got to be a better and more sanitary way to check shoes -- but other than that one infamous guy, how many "shoe bombers" have you found? I haven't heard of any.

I thought there was supposed to be some sort of list of people who agreed to be pre-screened and permitted to skip going through security all the time. This should be the majority of American flyers. I mean, come on, 99.999999% of flyers are NOT terrorists, but all of us are treated as potentially being one. You've got to be able to come up with a better way to stop inconveniencing, and even causing damage to, normal Americans, the majority of your travelers, just because one person in zillions may try something. Permit people to sign up for free background checks online or at a kiosk or something, so that you can permit most of us to just get through to our flights without all this rigamarole.

All it's doing is terrorizing normal, everyday Americans.

Submitted by Anonymous on

We're allowed to have screwdrivers, knitting needles, and scissors with 4 inch blades. Why are these considered safe, yet a small pocket knife with a 1.5 inch blade is not?

Also, screeners need to be a little more considerate when hand searching bags. I've seen them start walking of with your bag, while you're still trying to gather your other items, including children.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Terminals are more likely a target than are planes, assuming cockpits have been reenforced. Same is true for any mass transit--the terminal bomb kills more people.

It might make more sense to have all luggage checked in before entering a terminal--and carry ons checked at point of terminal entry. What your doing now is insane--the plane's not a weapon if a perp can't get into the cockpit.

Submitted by Don on

I fly 20 or so trips a year and everytime I go through "security" I am both amused and dismayed at the quality. When flying out of Reno, I have forgotten my cell phone clipped to my belt in the back and yet the metal detector did not go off. It was only after I got to the gate that I remembered it. I have flown with a cork screw (with the foil blade attached) probably 10 times with no issue and then I got "caught" a couple of weeks ago. It is a wine bottle foil blade and not even as sharp as a ball point pen!
I was questioned several years ago for carrying a piece of angle iron (used for testing concrete parts) and yet they ignored the stelleto shaft that is part of a vernier caliper. THAT was way more dangerous than the angle iron.
The problem that I see with TSA rules is that they fail to look at things logically. A pen or even a pencil can be a leathal weapon in the right hands so we allow them to swat at flys while not seeing the hawk hanging over their heads. The sad reality is that this is, has been and always will be the reality of our world. We have a need to catagorize items and fail to see that it both punishes and ignores many items.
A determined suicidal person can still get on board a plane and there is nothing we can do to stop that person. Vigilance by the aircrew and passengers is probably the best deterrent to stopping someone. This country spends millions for prisons, yet prisoners determined to make a weapon in prison still manage to do so...and they are strip searched!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I fly once or twice a year, usually for personal reasons with my family. During the battle to give TSA workers Civil Service protections (Bush wanted to privatize y'all), I wrote a letter to our local paper arguing that protections were necessary, reasoning that this would attract more quality personnel and reduce turnover. However, I have been disappointed and even outraged by the results. I have experienced rudeness, inconsistency, and arrogance from TSA employees. I've been in small airports that had as many as a dozen TSA employees just sitting around. I've had to show my ID again and again and again to people who seemed like they could be easily fooled. I've had to almost strip in public to get through metal detectors that were dialed tight one day and loose the next. I've been treatly poorly by overweight fools who assume the same persona that elderly matrons working in the Soviet system famously took on. In sum, TSA is a Kafkaesque bureaucracy designed to give the appearance of security to the traveling public. My feeling is that I am an honest American citizen who pays taxes, is married, owns property, and has children. I am not a criminal or a terrorist, and given the choice, I'd rather drive than fly any day of the week.

Submitted by Anonymous on

To me the biggest pain has been the "additional screening" list. I've been flying quite frequently for business the past three years and have never had an issue. Somehow my name ended up on the additional screening list so now I'm unable to check in from home and wasting so much time standing in both a check-in and security line.

Why can't this list cross-reference frequent flier lists to prove that you are not the individual who is wanted? What a waste - it's unlikely a person with bad intentions will use their real name anyway.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Consistency Consistency Consistency Consistency, I fly every week from PHL to airports all over the US, I do not mind all of the BS that you have to go through to get to the plane but I do mind the lack of consistency from airport to airport. As any frequent flyer will tell you we like to be prepared when we arrive to the screeners, everything out of pockets, no liquids in the bag, laptop out and so on. But what is most frustrating is to get up to the screener have everything ready and then have the screener tell you to remove your belt, well my belt (and yes it’s a normal belt with a small buckle) has made it through the screening process at 15 US airports in the past 5 weeks but this screener insists that it must be removed. I will say that their have been improvements, flying since 1986, I have seen the level of the screeners rise. It at least on the surface appears that they are now educated and have some respect for the traveling public (at most airports). I think that in most cases if you treat with respect you will get respect in return. I think that the most frustrating thing for me is the toothpaste thing. I travel for a week and a 1.6oz tube of toothpaste does not last, cant buy a 3oz tube and a 4.6oz won’t make it through, so I find myself buying a new tube of toothpaste every week! What is most confusing to me is when I made my (frequent) trip to Germany from PHL before I went through screening I tossed my toothpaste in the trash, then once on the other side I went into a store and purchased a 4.6oz tube of toothpaste to take with me? My understanding is it can not go on the plane, do they think that people are going to use a 4.6oz tube of toothpaste in the hour before the flight, every tube of toothpaste that is purchased from that store is carried on a flight. The best part is when before the flight boards the airline makes the announcement that that tube of toothpaste must be discarded, now think that through the super honest person will take that toothpaste they just purchased and throw it away. Do we think that terrorists are super honest? Oh yes and on the Germany side I can take my lighter through both checkpoints the German and the US, and when I arrive at my US destination I have my lighter that I can now board any other flight to anywhere in the US. Not that it matters though go into the smoking area in the airports that still have them and the airline, TSA and airport personnel that are in their all have lighters, now how did they get them through security? And yes I have my lighter too!